The newest comedy action film, Bullet Train, stars popular American actor Brad Pitt at centre stage, as Ladybug, an experienced mercenary on a simple mission, to retrieve a briefcase from a bullet train. The story is filled with drama as things go terribly wrong, when five assassins show up onboard.

The film adapted from the Bullet Train (English publication), which was originally published as Maria Beetle, a Japanese novel by Kotaro Isaka, features a story, set in Tokyo, primarily on a Japanese bullet train that travels from Tokyo to Kyoto.

The story with the tagline, ‘The end of the line is just the beginning’ and ‘Five killers. One journey. But who will survive?’ features a star-studded cast, with Benito Ocasio, the Puerto Rican rapper, known as Bad Bunny, playing the role of a Mexican Assassin, named The Wolf. Zazie Beetz plays The Hornet, an assassin who works with poisons. Hiroyuki Sanada plays The Elder.  Brian Tyree Henry and Aaron Taylor-Johnson star as Lemon and Tangerine, two brothers who are assassins. Michael Shannon stars as The White Death, who is introduced as the most feared leader, with control of the largest organisation of criminal assassins, while Logan Lerman plays his son, and Joey King stars as Prince.

Set onboard the world’s fastest train, the story centres on the Ladybug, a man who considers himself to be an unlucky assassin. The plot focuses on the Ladybug as he tries to peacefully do his job, after a history of unfortunate incidents, which are explained thru flashbacks. Ladybug on his mission, boards a train, with one aim, which is to locate and acquire a briefcase, and get off the train, but things go out of his control and far from what he expects, as five assassins, from around the world, show up onboard, with every lethal adversary having an interconnecting mission.

The story unfolds with non-stop fast action, as new and old enemies’ cross paths, with each introduced with a dramatic flashback, which gives viewers a quick insight into each assassin’s individual agenda. Ladybug’s mission goes completely wrong, as things spiral further and further away from his mission. The story dives straight into chaos, as it follows the events on the train, as it turns into a violent train ride, which sees everything going off the rails.

Meanwhile, intruly short scenes, Bullet Train stars Sandra Bullock as Maria Beetle, Ladybug’s handler, a role that is mostly a voice on Ladybug’s phone, who appears in person very briefly. Ryan Reynolds as Carver is the shortest flashback, simply to explain that Ladybug was filling in for him. And Channing Tatum makes a short appearance as a random Train Passenger, while Karen Fukuhara plays a Train Crew Member.

The 126-minute film by director David Leitch, was made together with producers Antoine Fuqua and Kelly McCormick, working in collaboration with production companies Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 87North Productions and Fuqua Films. Bullet Train was made with an estimated budget of around ninety million dollars and went on to earn over 62.5 million at the worldwide box-office on its opening weekend, backed by mixed reviews, with over 54 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, 49 per cent on Metacritic and 7.5/10 on IMDb.

Rated R, the film, initially feels like it is performance driven, but with its lengthy runtime, the core storyline loses its momentum, as it heavily relies on its star-studded cast. The highlight of the film fades away as each assassin is introduced, slowly eroding away the fresh style of storytelling that the movie starts with.

This is a film that fans of Pitt and the supporting cast, will appreciate, but for those who want more, the film fails to deliver content that is engaging from start to finish, as it loses it freshness halfway through the film. This is a film that is worth watching for its cast and for its core plot, and nothing more.

By Nirupa Mohan Dore